How our Customers Built the New Equinix Customer Portal

Phil Schwarzmann

 

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The world’s leading data center provider deserves the world’s leading customer portal, and that’s exactly what Equinix customers have. If you’re one of the portal’s 80,000 registered users making any of the 19,000 transactions per month, it’s about to get even better. And it’s all thanks to YOU, our customer.

I sat down with Equinix Customer Portal guru Robert Noakes to ask him about the new portal and how customer feedback shaped it.

 

How do you gather feedback from customers?

In a number of ways. We have customer advisory boards. We have product advisory boards where we get very strategic customers in the room. In one room we’ll have many of the best known global names in Silicon Valley. We also have over 200 customers in our research panel that have volunteered to receive surveys and provide insights into their user experience. They’re very motivated to tell us where there is room for improvement!

Ha! [Laughs]

They give us a nice laundry list of where the portal needs improvement. We’re very happy to hear that because they’re right. Then we have to figure out our priorities, what to tackle first. For this release we needed to make things more simple and intuitive.

When did the ECP (Equinix Customer Portal) begin?

About three years ago the ECP was introduced in EMEA, where there was no portal at the time, and was then rolled out to replace legacy portals in North America. Our North American customers were migrated in 2011 and 2012. At that time, we took customers out of multiple experiences and brought them into one singular experience.

Just one year later, we’ve already completely redesigned the face of the site. Many of the features we added are exactly what customers asked for. That’s the key.

Who designed the Equinix Customer Portal?

The first version was developed without our own designers; it was a third-party vendor. Now, we have a very dedicated team of UX designers and skilled developers. That crew brought modern web technology, interface, and user experience to this portal. All in-house.

We’re listening to our customers, we’re making adjustments, and the customers get a better experience with every release.

So what are the new changes?

It starts with the home page dashboard. It gives you the most recent information you need to know. What are the most recent requests we’ve submitted? What’s going on with notifications? What’s going on with pending items? What’s going on with portal updates?

It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need.

Boom! It’s on one page. The navigation was completely changed. The menus were very deep, so we’ve adopted something called “mega menus” which puts everything one click away.

We’ve also added guided workflows in this release. It guides users to the next logical step for many of the tasks they perform most.

What are the top three things people do in the portal?

Scheduling work visits to IBX sites is a big one. Submitting Cross Connect and Smart Hands requests is another. Also, scheduling inbound shipments is a frequent portal activity.

Customers like to view their history and see details of each request. They want to see their install base. What is installed in our Equinix cages? What are my users doing? They also have access to their invoices and payments online.

In the new version we have a major change to user management – we’ve added a new level called “Master Administrator”. Previously, customers would have to call our service desk and request to add or remove an administrator. Now the Master Administrator can add, edit, or terminate any other administrator, including other masters.

How does our portal compare to the competition?

Nobody has anything like what we have. Our competitors have attempted to copy what we’ve done, but have fallen way short on user experience and features. And nobody can compete with us globally. No one has a single global experience like we will achieve in 2014.

Who gets this new release?

It will be released next week for customers in North America and EMEA. But by February of next year, we’ll be bringing the same experience to our Asia-Pacific customers.

 

While the portal’s release is one week away, you can preview it here.

http://info.equinix.com/CustomerPortalRedesign.html