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 more than 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.

“I have infinitely better support now than I ever had. I have better support and I’m paying 90% less. That’s a win.”

Scott Genzer, Senior Community Manager

The Challenges: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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, choose 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, “whenever I would hit a problem and I needed support, the support was horrendous. And I cannot emphasize how horrendous horrendous can be.”

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.

The Search: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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 Migration: Smooth Sailing

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.”

The Results: Better than Ever

Once Vanilla was up and running, the results were immediate; RapidMiner saw their numbers improve in every area that they measure, and then some!

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.

“In our old community, average time the solution was about 5-10 days. With Vanilla capabilities, we’ve gotten that down to 36 hours time to solution, which is phenomenal.”

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.