How CKEditor 5 helped Rocketlane become an all-in-one collaborative onboarding solution
Rocketlane is a leading B2B customer onboarding software, helping companies of mid-market and enterprise size to provide a consistent implementation journey to their customers with a shared experience between them. With Rocketlane, companies have a central workspace with their customers, where all of the planning, tasks, and communication on both sides of the implementation are streamlined into one experience. By allowing business entities to create and customize their implementation journeys as well as preventing the journeys to be spread across different channels, Rocketlane allows companies to apply their solutions faster and to deliver a shorter time to value to their customers.
We met with Srikrishnan Ganesan, the CEO of Rocketlane, during SaaStr 2021, to learn more about how CKEditor 5 helped the team in building its product.
Challenge: Providing document collaboration from scratch
Rocketlane started building its product in June 2020. Instead of an MVP, they wanted to launch a full-blown solution that brings together the project management, document collaboration, chat, and other experiences that are critical for customer onboarding or other client-facing projects. They wanted to deliver this full all-in collaborative experience from day one.
As Srikrishnan Ganesan puts it, their aim was not to build yet another tool for onboarding but to create a platform that will be “the center” of the whole onboarding experience. And document collaboration plays a key part in any onboarding journey. Users need to be able to work together, whether it is for a statement of work, a solutions document, meeting notes, or status updates that are being sent. The platform needed to bring all of these information channels that are usually spread over emails, different versioning, chat, or project software, together in an all-in-one custom system that records all the things happening during the implementation. All of which required a wide array of rich editing capabilities of the content.
Mr. Srikrishnan Ganesan also reveals that they were very finicky about the design of the solution and wanted to make sure everything looked great and consistent within Rocketlane which meant the editor needed to suit all of their needs in terms of flexibility.
Solution: Customizable and collaborative rich text editor
To find the customizable solutions that can be used/re-used to build out Rocketlane’s document capabilities for collaboration and shorten the time to go live as much as possible, they evaluated multiple rich text frameworks and providers. That’s where CKEditor 5 came into play, giving them the option to customize things the way they wanted and to get the right experience delivered to their customers, to the satisfaction of their design teams.
The fact that a lot of features came out-of-the-box along with the customization potential allowed us to innovate and achieve experiences that are not available in other products.
Rocketlane was able to enable rich content inside their documents in addition to the document collaboration experiences they’ve planned, by using CKEditor 5. Apart from customizing the look of the editor as mentioned before, Rocketlane also customized functions of some of the features and their integration.
For example, the CKEditor 5 Mentions feature which allows you to create topics or tag already existing users in the software the editor is being integrated with, was further customized to make managing tasks in Rocketlane easier. In the end, users were able to mention tasks, users, or other documents, create tables that contain lists of tasks, create tasks, or even convert follow-up action items into tasks right inside a collaborative document. This allowed the document part of the platform to be fully integrated with the task management part. Such natural connections allow things such as the creation of new tasks that emerge out of meetings, right when users are collaboratively taking the meeting notes.
Other interesting customizations happened to the comments. In Rocketlane, they can be set as internal comments that are visible only to the team, or can be seen by their customers as well. As Mr. Ganesan puts it, “When you share a document with a customer on Google Docs, if you add a comment on it, it's visible to the customer. You can’t say “I want these comments to be visible and these comments to be internal.“ This is something that differentiates us and even Google Docs doesn't have today.“ Further comments customization also allowed users to select a section of the document and create other tasks related to that section, instead of just a comment as well.
The fact that a lot of the editor features came out of the box, allowed the Rocketlane team to innovate on top of the CKEditor 5 for their platform, letting them achieve experiences that are usually not available in other products.
Result: A unique market offer
Rocketlane’s aim from the start was to create a beautiful customer portal that businesses would be proud to share with their customers. To this day, no other solution in its space provides a way to build collaborative status updates or the document collaboration experience they offer. This makes Rocketlane unique and differentiates it in terms of the all-in-one user experience it delivers. Srikrishnan Ganesan says that CKEditor 5 helped Rocketlane power this experience from the get-go.
With CKEditor 5, their developers were able to get this up and running quickly, and they launched the full product in a short 9 months, with a private beta in March 2021, and an official launch in June 2021. Ganesan also added that “Most people who look at our product don't believe that we built it in the time frame we built it. If we tried to build everything from scratch on our own we definitely wouldn't be able to do that.”
His company plans to add more capabilities in the CKEditor 5 integration to increase the ability for teams to get their work done inside Rocketlane and to address users in a wider range of business sectors. For example, by introducing CKEditor 5’s real-time track changes, they believe legal teams can also benefit from using their platform for onboarding as well as the engagement process between companies.
Ganesan says that collaboration is a big area to focus on for anyone else to come in and challenge Rocketlane’s leadership, especially on the collaboration dimension of the onboarding experience. With their commitment to progress and to provide for the needs of their users as well as with CKEditor 5’s help for unique collaboration advantages, Rocketlane is and will be a force to be reckoned with.
“Most people who look at our product don't believe that we built it in the time frame we built it. If we tried to build everything from scratch on our own we definitely wouldn't be able to do that.”