HIR Uses Wikis to Collaborate with Clients

Heartland Information Research Inc. (HIR) needed a platform to manage complex client engagements and information resources associated with their management consulting projects. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based firm provides innovative and cost-effective solutions to owner-managed businesses and government agencies. HIR wanted to use the web to build documentation collaboratively and to create knowledge centers for their clients.

The company arrived at wikis as the best platform to meet this need. Access to these online spaces would be granted to specific team members and/or constituents, solving the problem of communication getting scattered through various email threads or only some team members having access to crucial information.

Because HIR offers this service to its clients, they needed a reliable partner to provide the platform for these sites. And they needed a partner who could meet their clients’ unique set of needs — whether an owner-managed business or a government agency.

Comprehensive Services

HIR had been using another free wiki service to build sites for its clients. But that company's editing interface had only limited options, and their sites seemed cookie-cutter, rather than feeling like truly customized websites. So Donald Hill, Principal at HIR, began searching for a new company to build wiki sites for his clients. And his list of needs was long: The sites needed to be simple to use, needed to be built and uploaded quickly, and needed to be easily customized. In addition, 24 hour a day support was critical, as was the ability to span multiple continents, while offering a secure environment.

Quick Support

EditMe offered all of these crucial services, but Hill says that the decision to switch to EditMe was clear when he saw EdtiMe's quick response times to support questions (he noticed EditMe's response rate by checking the time/day stamps in user forum postings). "Nothing is worse than looking at user forums and seeing days elapse before a support post is put up," says Hill.

Now an ongoing customer of EditMe, Hill is thrilled with the support staff's response rate. "It is questionable whether EditMe support sleeps or not," he says. "Responses to private or public inquiries rarely wait more than eight hours for a response and often come sooner once working through any issue." He notes that this is true despite the fact that so far all issues have been because of HIR configuration or coding errors.

Easy Backup & Archival

Another selling point for HIR is that with EditMe, they can now download entire sites to a DVD. "At the conclusion of each project, HIR can download the entire site to DVD for the client's archive and easy future reference," says Hill. "In the case of government projects, this is a key point to meet public record and comment retention policies."

Responsive, Scalable & Dependable

Finally, another big selling point was that EditMe can manage times of high and low usage. "Our sites typically go through a peak usage period, then drop back to minimal use as online project document archives," says Hill. "[With EditMe], if more bandwidth is needed, it becomes available the INSTANT you submit the upgrade request online."

Hill gives an example of how EditMe responds to extremely high usage. "In July, one of our government client sites peaked with over 150,000 hits and over 1.5GB transferred in one day from public users - [all] without any reported outages or responsiveness complaints," he says. "In total, July 2009 saw almost 7GB in file downloads, three quarters of a million total hits, and a quarter of a million page views [for all of our clients]. Throughout all of this, HIR's project team was updating multiple pages [in] real-time, uploading new documents, and moderating discussion boards-without noticing any performance fall off. [Afterwards], we were shocked to see the level of activity [that was] going on behind the scenes."

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Special Advisory Commitee

"For those looking for a collaboration platform that everyone will use,
this is it."
- Donald Hill, Principal

The Challenge 
  • Find a partner who could deliver cost-effective, customizable wiki sites.
  • Deliver simple to use sites that can be built and uploaded quickly.
  • Develop sites that can span multiple continents within a secure environment.

The Solution 
  • EditMe offers all of these essential elements: cost-effective, customizable wiki sites with easy-to use formatting; sites can be built and uploaded quickly; and access to sites can span multiple continents within a secure environment.
  • EditMe also offers 24 hour customer service, with quick response times, which really sets EditMe apart from the rest.
  • Another huge bonus: If more bandwidth is needed, it becomes available the instant an upgrade is requested online.