About Kong HQ
Kong HQ is a cloud connectivity company for API and micro-service management. Their platform makes connecting APIs and micro-services across hybrid and multi-cloud environments faster and easier through a developer-focused solution. Globally, they power trillions of API transactions for more than 420 leading organizations, and their platform has been downloaded 279 million times and has nearly 3 million active instances. In their 2021 Series D funding, Kong was valued at $1.4 billion and experienced 1,908% in revenue growth over the 3-year period covering 2018-2021 (Source: Kong Raises $100 Million to Accelerate Cloud Connectivity).
Challenge for Kong HQ
Kong HQ’s Customer Experience (CX) Team was tasked with evaluating and revamping the educational program for Kong HQ Administrators, which comprised of technical audiences like developers and devops engineers. At the time, Kong HQ was using a learning management system (LMS) focused on internal employee training to deliver external technical training. Alongside their LMS, Kong HQ used an internally-built lab platform to provide the hands-on component in their technical training courses.
Kong’s legacy LMS was not purpose-built to deliver external, technical training, which led to poor user-experiences for developers and devops engineers. It also did not have an integrated course authoring tool, which led to courses that fell short of the expectations of Kong’s technical learners. Kong University also had poor reporting capabilities, and in some extreme cases, generated incorrect metrics like learner completion rates.
Since Kong University was aimed at developers and devops engineers, their courses included a hands-on component where learners could use Kong’s software in a sandbox environment. These sandbox environments complimented the rest of the course content, which consisted mostly of videos and pre-recorded webinars. However, these homebuilt sandboxes had short runtimes (not enough time for learners to fully-evaluate Kong’s products), lacked persistence capabilities (lost the learner’s work if the browser window was closed), and was poorly integrated into their LMS. These problems led to a rough user experience for Kong’s technical learners, inadequate reporting for Kong’s CX Team, and a shortfall in Kong University’s contribution to improving product awareness and product adoption amongst developers and devops engineers.
After several years experiencing the issues outlined above, Kong’s CX Team started the process of evaluating a new solution that would power their external, technical training courses. The multi-month evaluation process led to Appsembler being selected to replace both the legacy LMS and the internally-built sandbox environment. The decision to select Appsembler included several criteria, but to summarize, Kong’s CX Team agreed that:
“When talking to Appsembler, it was clear that they understood what was needed to provide software training to developers and devops engineers. Their integrated LMS and hands-on sandboxes also made a big difference, allowing us to purchase a holistic solution from a single vendor.”
Appsembler for Developer Marketing was selected, a solution that includes:
- Appsembler Tahoe, a self-paced learning platform focused on delivering external training at scale,
- Studio, a course-authoring tool integrated with Appsembler Tahoe, and
- Appsembler Virtual Labs (AVL), which allowed learners to launch a hands-on sandbox of Kong’s products (no installation required).
This integrated platform ensured that courses built using Studio would fully-utilize all of Appsembler Tahoe’s capabilities, leading to a more immersive learning experience for Kong developers and devops engineers. And with Appsembler Virtual Labs, Kong offered hands-on product sandboxes to enhance the learner experience and drive product adoption. AVL could also launch product sandboxes for whatever time duration Kong’s courses needed them to run, had persistence capabilities, was fully-integrated with Appsembler Tahoe, and had the reporting and analytics capabilities to measure the effectiveness of Kong University.
Several months after moving to Appsembler for Developer Marketing, usage on Kong University skyrocketed. The number of course registrations and launched sandboxes was setting records, with monthly active users (MAU) growing steadily and with thousands of hands-on product sandboxes being launched every month.
In addition to the growth that Kong University experienced, Kong’s CX Team increased the number of courses that learners completed. This was the result of a more streamlined university experience where learners found courses easier, which led to better product enablement and usage. Finally, with Appsembler’s integrated platform, reporting and analytics improved, with accurate course completion data now available to Kong’s CX Team.
With the migration to Appsembler complete and their initial problems solved, Kong’s CX Team is looking ahead to the additional benefits they can gain from Appsembler’s platform. For example, the way Appsembler Tahoe structures its courses will allow Kong’s CX Team to focus on course creation rather than being university administrators. Additionally, deepening the integration between Kong University and Kong’s marketing technology stack will fully realize the platform’s ability to drive Kong’s product awareness and product adoption goals.